This is a sweet day for me. I know a few of the Oscar nominees, personally. I mean, I know them know them. Like we break bread, shared the same shower [not at the same time - hehe] and I literally spoke to one yesterday afternoon [I'm lying about that, but it felt good saying it]. It's safe to say I rock with the Big League, I'm rolling with the Jones', I'm… being ridiculous and about to shut it up. LOL. On a serious note, thanks to the Writers Guild I saw most of the Oscar-nominated films. In the Best Actor category I'm betting on Mickey Rourke. His performance in The Wrestler was profound. Rourke captured the over-the-hill, drugged-out, desperately-seeking love tabloid wrestler with just the right amount of heart and ugly. He's my pick. In the Best Actress category I'm betting on Meryl Streep for Doubt. There are only two words for Meryl: unbelievable craft. Two more words: unflinchingly courageous. And although I thought Marisa Tomei cut through the junk and offered up a nice piece of real as the aging stripper in The Wrestler, I'd be crazy not to send a double shout up for my girl Viola Davis in Doubt. Viola didn't just bring craft and quiet specificity to her role as the mother of a gay 12 year-old, she showed everyone that what makes an actor amazing is her willingness to throw off the mask and bring truth and soul. She's certainly my wish for Best Supporting Actress. [In fact, she'd better win or there will be some broke backs in Hollywood the next day]. As far as Best Supporting Actor, yeh, you guessed it: Heath Ledger is my winner, hands down. His portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight was dirty, other-worldly, and frighteningly likeable. He was the best example of cinematic danger I've witnessed in a long time. As far as Best Picture, well, Slumdog Millionaire is my top-top-top choice. It was an absolutely moving portrait of how the Muslim street children of Mumbai are exploited and literally damaged, but how one, in particular, grows up and is able to answer every question correctly on How To Be A Millionaire by recalling the events that shaped his life. Slumdog was a very satisfying and touching piece of cinema. We'll see what happens on February 22 when the Oscars air, but now you know where I stand.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.